Mosaic Gardens Journal

news, photos and inspiration

Nature Nurture: Preserving our Plenty May 25, 2010

Filed under: events,friends — Rebecca Sams from Mosaic Gardens @ 4:43 pm
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Pea Pods... gorgeous.

Our friend Robin Cushman graciously allowed us to share this announcement for her upcoming show and invitation to the opening!  This new “stained glass” photo at left is gorgeous, and we can’t wait to see more….

We’ll let Robin take it from here:

Dear gardening friends,
Below is an invitation to my solo show at the David Joyce Gallery at LCC. I hope you can drop by for the festivities. The show is up now and will be through the summer. Susan Detroy curated the show and the LCC culinary arts department will provide hors d’oeuvres.

The opening coincides with the “100-mile Meal” put on by culinary arts students. All the foods come from within 100 miles, some from their own LCC Learning Garden [Mosaic note: a member of the culinary school faculty shared that the students did such a great job sourcing ingredients for the meal, that all ingredients actually come from within *30* miles – wow!]. They felt my work would complement the theme, as all the images are from the bountiful Willamette Valley.

In addition to my garden/farm/market photos, I am exploring two new areas of foods – produce revealing more through being back-lit (think stained glass) and a series of “frisky fruits and voluptuous vegetables.”

Hope you can attend the opening & show. Please invite your friends – Robin




More Spring Cleaning – Food for Thought April 24, 2010

Filed under: garden design,our garden — Rebecca Sams from Mosaic Gardens @ 6:18 pm
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Broccoli seedlings in our garden this morning.

In our most recent newsletter, we promised to offer ideas to make gardening more fulfilling.  For us, nothing is more fulfilling than bringing in the harvest from our orchard and veggie garden.  The size of the harvest – buckets of apples or a handful of fresh herbs – isn’t as important as the connection to our garden and our food (although the food itself ain’t bad).  We talked about designing veggie gardens in an earlier newsletter, but not everyone has the time, sunny space or inclination to devote to a full-on orchard or veggie garden.  Whether you’re a serious veggie gardener or an aspiring gardener in an apartment, here are a few ideas for incorporating food into busy lives and small spaces.

Herbs – Anyone with sun can grow culinary herbs, many of which are pretty ornamentals.  Trailing rosemary and thyme can spill over borders, walls or the edge of a container, and other herbs, like upright rosemary can be sheared into cones or other shapes.  Bay is an attractive broad-leafed “foundation” for an herb or veggie planting (ours even survived the single digit temps!).  Consider foliage texture and color in placing your herbs, and you may find that your herb garden is a year-round beautiful corner of your garden.

Alliums – One difficulty with growing vegetables and fruits is that so many are high-maintenance plants.  The little divas want to be staked, watered, thinned, and otherwise coddled more often than many busy people can handle.  Alliums, such as garlic and onions, on the other hand, are low-key, low-maintenance, and low-water.  They only require attention two or three times a year, and they rarely or never need additional water.  They can be harvested throughout the season and dried, letting all of your “hard work” last into the winter!  (Question – Has anyone planted edible alliums around deer?  We know ornamental alliums are rarely, if ever, browsed by deer, and we’ve heard that edible alliums are often ignored as well.  What’s your experience?).

Artichokes and cardoons make dramatic container plants.

Containers – Some veggies and fruits make beautiful container plantings.  The striking silver foliage of artichokes and cardoons, for instance, are beautiful with annuals (as in the photo at right) or with trailing herbs, nasturtiums and purple basil.  If your sun or space limit you to a container veggie garden, consider arranging your pots with an eye towards foliage combination, and perhaps add a few low herbs or annuals to spill over the edges.  One of our friends had a container veggie garden on the deck of her second floor apartment.  With peas climbing the railing and lettuce in hanging baskets, she packed a lot of food and beauty into a tiny space.

Thanks for reading!  We hope you’re enjoying your gardening (veggie and otherwise) and the nice weather.  We’ll be back with a post-mortem from the hard winter freeze and another spring cleaning idea.


Mosaic’s tomato cages June 7, 2009

Filed under: our garden — Rebecca Sams from Mosaic Gardens @ 7:57 pm
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[Edit: Hi!  This page gets a lot of traffic, so we thought we’d make sure you knew about the rest of our journal and our other veggie-related posts.  We update regularly during the growing season and hope you’ll check back in.  Thanks for stopping by!  Mosaic]

Our ornamental garden gets most of the questions on garden tours, but our take on tomato cages always catches the attention of dedicated veggie gardeners. These cages allow us to support a whole row of vigorous tomatoes at once and collapse into flat panels when not in use. Best of all, they are as sturdy, straight and good looking as the first time we used them six years ago!

One of our tomato cages, ready for the summer

To make Mosaic’s tomato cages, you’ll need:

  • two strong galvanized welded wire panels (bull wire or some tough hog wire from the farm supply store is a great choice)
  • strong wire cutters or a grinder
  • 4 pieces of rebar (concrete reinforcing bar), with at least two pieces approx 5-6′ long (depends on how deep you can drive them into your soil)
  • twine

First, cut your bull wire panels to size with the wire cutters or grinder. Our panels are the length of our veggie rows and about 4′ high. We cut at least the bottom wire off the panels, so that the bottom vertical pieces form lots of little “stakes” to help secure the panels. We make sure that the ends of the panels are trimmed off, so no one can get caught or scraped.

Next, stick the panels in on either side of your tomatoes at an angle and then drive rebar into the soil, outside of the panels. Make sure the rebar is firmly in place, because it is the primary support for your structure and will hold everything together under high winds and heavy tomato loads. Tie the rebar securely to the panels with the twine.

Finally, string twine in a zig-zag pattern through the middle and top of the wire panels. These layers will help support the plants and fruit as they grow up through the cages.

At the end of the year, the cages are quick and easy to disassemble and store. We use a smaller version of these cages for peppers and eggplants and single panels of the same wire for climbing plants like peas and cucumbers.

Happy gardening!

Tomatoes overwhelming our cages on right.  Photo courtesy of Robin Bachtler Cushman.
Tomatoes overflowing our strong cages on right. Photo courtesy of Robin Bachtler Cushman.


Spring Veggies June 3, 2009

Filed under: our garden — Rebecca Sams from Mosaic Gardens @ 5:14 pm

IMG_2203I love planting our veggie garden. It’s hard to believe that tiny seeds and transplants will produce so much beautiful food! Two photos from this morning and one from last fall. IMG_2205



Veg out! May 21, 2009

Filed under: friends,our garden,photos — Rebecca Sams from Mosaic Gardens @ 5:17 pm
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One of Robin's beautiful market photos!

Just a quick note to announce the photography exhibition of our friend, Robin Bachtler Cushman! Robin is one of four local photographers whose work will be featured in “Markets,” a show celebrating farmer’s markets in Eugene and around the world.

Stop by the David Joyce Gallery on the LCC main campus – Building 19, 2nd floor. Map at The opening is tonight from 5-6:30, but the show will be up until September 21.

Robin was the first photographer to shoot our garden, and we love her work. We hope you’ll find time to see the show (and check out Robin’s cool website).ig



Our veggie garden in 2004, as seen through the lens of Robin Bachtler Cushman